And so he sat.

He sat in the convenience store, lights off, staring straight ahead, mouth agape.

The cat played idly on the large front sill of the display window, rolling and clawing at her toy, as sun shone through the dusty window.

The air was still and musty. Without much movement, a fine layer of silt had settled on everything.

His jaw had mostly healed, but the store remained a complete wreck.

The candy display was toppled, packets of chewing gum and chocolate bars scattered on the dirty linoleum floor. The small shelf near the fridge lay on its side, dirty cans of soup here and there. The fridge was dark and still, no erratic hum of the near-broken motor, now holding only terribly rancid milk and cream.

Regular customers pounded on the door and windows, yelling for cigarettes, chips, sodas. Delivery men knocked at the rear, their carts loaded with goods that would never be delivered into the store. The phone rang and rang.

And he continued to sit upon his stool, hands on the counter, staring into space. paying them all no mind.

His reflection in the broken television set and the cat were his only companions.

He had been robbed before, but this time it was different. They had tied him up. They had either destroyed or stolen most of the inventory. They had burned his earlobe with a lighter, then broken his jaw.

They did all of this silently, methodically. There was no maniacal joy or sick glee in what they were doing. They stole his stock, assaulted him and left.

It all took about fifteen minutes.

This seemed to make it all the more unsettling for him. Why were they silent? The other thieves had been loud and brash, riding a high. Why did they do this to him, in this run down corner store and what happens if he rebuilds and they just come back?

He shifted. The stool had begun to buckle under his weigh after so much use. It creaked slightly and he thought of tomorrow, smiling slightly.

The cat looked up at him and meowed.

For years, people would walk by and notice the rundown dusty convenience store that was always closed yet appeared to be staffed by a man and a cat.


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